- CRITTER TALK
In order to report a skilled nursing facility to your state’s authorities, the first thing you will need to do is communicate with the staff. You may also want to consider reaching out to your county’s long-term care ombudsman. Your state will also have organizations that are dedicated to protecting the rights of seniors, and you can report to them as well.
Why would you need to report a nursing home? Some common reasons include:
Many group homes, nursing homes, medical centers, assisted living facilities, and hospitals are understaffed. This results in not having enough staff members to go around.
Even the most caring staff member can only stretch themselves so far. When the staff isn’t caring and is instead resentful, lazy, or worse, the resulting problems can be quite serious.
The law requires all skilled nursing facilities to follow a precise protocol when a complaint is filed. Although it is not necessary to complain directly to the facility’s management, it is recommended that you take this as a first step before reporting to other authorities.
In normal circumstances, the management running the facility should address all your concerns by giving you a detailed report of the steps they plan to take to address the situation. If you do not know where to start, you can review your local contract information.
Different skilled nursing facilities will have different avenues that you can use to voice your concerns. Here are a few of the ways you can file a complaint.
After deciding to present a written complaint, a skilled nursing facility should send you an acknowledgment letter within ten days (depending on the facility’s policy). Once the facility determines an investigation is warranted, they should start it immediately. You should receive further communication within the first ten days of the investigation.
In some instances, healthcare facilities prefer to subcontract an independent party to carry out the inquiries. If that is the case, the facility should send you a letter or email within ten days detailing which agency will handle your case. The letter should also provide the contact details of the agency.
Unlike written messages, you can expect to get a response from a skilled nursing facility within two days once you submit your concerns via voicemail. It is imperative to note that they will prioritize your call according to the information you provide.
Based on federal and state guidelines, the facility’s staff will gather the initial information to determine whether it is compliant. If your case is within the statute of limitations and warrants an investigation, the chances are high that the complaint will be included in the annual survey.
Once the facility has started investigating your claims, the designated agency or the facility’s staff will undertake a disposition. That is a smooth process where the investigators take different steps to determine the outcome.
You should expect the nursing facility or independent agency to give you the detailed information of the findings. They should identify the areas of non-compliance by the facility and the steps that are taken to rectify the fault. They will submit the information to you in the form of a written document.
You may want to consider getting a lawyer to fight for your loved one’s rights. There are a few things to know before you hire an attorney. The first is the damages you may be able to claim in a lawsuit. These include your loved one’s medical bills, the cost of any equipment they now have to use as a result of their injuries, their medication, or funeral expenses.
The second is what you’ll need to prove in order to be successful in a nursing home lawsuit. First, you’ll need to prove that the facility was negligent. You will also need to prove that your loved one’s injury was the result of that negligence. Finally, you will need to prove that you have damages that are related to the case.
If you have questions, you may want to consult a personal injury or wrongful death attorney who specializes in nursing home cases. Most of these attorneys offer free initial consultations, and it’s worth taking them up on it if you believe your senior family member has been harmed.
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